Thursday, December 13, 2007

FINDING AND KEEPING A LIFE PARTNER

Golden rules for finding your life partner by Dov Heller, M.A

When it comes to making the decision about choosing a life partner, no
one wants to make a mistake. Yet, with a divorce rate of close to 50%,
it appears that many are making serious mistakes in their approach to
finding Mr/Miss. Right!

If you ask most couples who are engaged why they're getting married,
they'll say: 'We're in love'; I believe this is the #1 mistake people
make when they date. Choosing a life partner should never be based on
love.

Though this may sound 'not politically correct', there's a profound
truth here. Love is not the basis for getting married. Rather, love is
the result of a good marriage. When the other ingredients are right,
then the love will come. Let me say it again:

'You can't build a lifetime relationship on love alone'; you need a lot
more!!!

Here are five questions you must ask yourself if you're serious about
finding and keeping a life partner.

QUESTION 1: Do we share a common life purpose?

Why is this so important? Let me put it this way: If you're married for
20 or 30 years, that's a long time to live with someone. What do you
plan to do with each other all that time? Travel, eat and jog together?
You need to share something deeper and more meaningful. You need a
common life purpose.

Two things can happen in a marriage:
(1) You can grow together, or (2) you can grow apart.
50% of the people out there are growing apart. To make a marriage work,
you need to know what you want out of life! Bottom line; and marry
someone who wants the same thing.

QUESTION.2 : Do I feel safe expressing my feelings and thoughts with
this person?

This question goes to the core of the quality of your relationship.

Feeling safe means you can communicate openly with this person. The
basis of having good communication is trust - i.e. trust that I won't
get 'punished' ; or hurt for expressing my honest thoughts and
feelings. A colleague of mine defines an abusive person as someone with
whom you feel afraid to express your thoughts and
feelings.
Be honest with yourself on this one. Make sure you feel emotionally
safe with the person you plan to marry.

QUESTION.3 : Is he/she a mensch?

A mensch is someone who is a refined and sensitive person. How can you
test? Here are some suggestions:

Do they work on personal growth on a regular basis? Are they serious
about improving themselves?

A teacher of mine defines a good person as 'someone who is always
striving to be good and do the right'; so ask about your Significant
other what do they do with their time? Is this person materialistic?
Usually a materialistic person is not someone whose top priority is
character refinement.

There are essentially two types of people in the world:
(1) People who are dedicated to personal growth and
(2) people who are dedicated to seeking comfort.

Someone whose goal in life is to be comfortable will put personal
comfort ahead of doing the right thing. You need to know that before
walking down the aisle.

QUESTION 4: How does he/she treat other people?

The one most important thing that makes any relationship work is the
ability to give. By giving, we mean the ability to give another person
pleasure. Ask: Is this someone who enjoys giving pleasure to others or
are they wrapped up in themselves and self-absorbed? To measure this,
think about the following:

How do they treat people whom they do not have to be nice to, such as
waiters, bus boys, taxi drivers, etc. How do they treat their parents
and siblings? Do they have gratitude and appreciation? If they don't
have gratitude for the people who have given them everything; can you
do nearly as much for them? You can be sure that someone who treats
others poorly will eventually treat you poorly as well.

QUESTION 5: Is there anything I'm hoping to change about this person
after we're married?

Too many people make the mistake of marrying someone with the intention
of trying to 'improve'; them after they're married. As a colleague of
mine puts it: 'You can probably expect someone to change after marriage
for the worse' If you cannot fully accept this person the way they are
now, then you are not ready to marry them. In conclusion, dating
doesn't have to be difficult and treacherous. The key is to try leading a
little more with your head and less with your heart.

It pays to be as objective as possible when you are dating; to be sure
to ask questions that will help you get to the key issues. Falling in
love is a great feeling, but when you wake up with a ring on your
finger, you don't want to find yourself in trouble because you didn't
do your homework.

Another perspective....There are some people in your life that need to
be loved from a distance....It's amazing what you can accomplish when
you let go of or at least minimize your time with draining, negative,
incompatible, not-going anywhere relationships. Observe the
relationships around you.

Pay attention.... Which ones lift and which ones lean? Which ones
encourage and which ones discourage? Which ones are on a path of growth
uphill and which ones are going downhill? When you leave certain people
do you feel better or feel worse? Which ones always have drama or don't
really understand, know, or appreciate you? The more you seek quality,
respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you...the easier
it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the front row and
who should be moved to the balcony of your life.
An African proverb states, 'Before you get married, keep both eyes
open, and after you marry, close one eye'; Before you get involved and
make a commitment to someone, don't let lust, pity, desperation, immaturity,
ignorance, pressure from others or a low self-esteem make you blind to
warning signs. Keep your eyes open, and don't fool yourself that you
can change someone or that what you see as faults isn't really that
important.

Do you bring out the best in each other?
Do you compliment and compromise with each other, or do you compete,
compare and control?
What do you bring to the relationship?
Do you bring past relationships, past hurt, past mistrust, past pain?

You can't take someone to the altar to alter them.
You can't make someone love you or make someone stay.

If you develop self-esteem, spiritual discernment, and 'a life'; you
won't find yourself making someone else responsible for your happiness
or responsible for your pain. Seeking status, sex, and security are the
wrong reasons to be in a relationship.


1. TRUST
2. COMMUNICATION
3. INTIMACY
4. A SENSE OF HUMOR
5. SHARING TASKS
6. SOME GETAWAY TIME WITHOUT BUSINESS OR CHILDREN
7. DAILY EXCHANGES (meal, shared activity, hug, call, touch, notes,
8. SHARING COMMON GOALS AND INTERESTS
9. GIVING EACH OTHER SPACE TO GROW WITHOUT FEELING INSECURE
10. GIVING EACH OTHER A SENSE OF BELONGING AND ASSURANCES OF COMMITMENT

If these qualities are missing, the relationship will erode as
resentment withdrawal, abuse, neglect, and dishonesty; and pain will
replace it.

Happiness keeps You Sweet, Trials keep You Strong, Sorrows keep You
Human, Failures keep You Humble, Success keeps You Glowing, But only
faith keeps You Going! 'In search for me, I discovered truth. In search
for truth, I discovered love and in search for love, I discovered
faith. In faith, I have found everything.' 'Obstacles are those frightful
things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.'...Authors
Unknown

'The circumstances of life, the events of life, and the people around
me in life, do not make me the way I am, but reveal the way I am' [Dr. Sam
Peeples].

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